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February 15, 2010

Last week in Federal Parliament the debate about the Rudd Labor Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) carried extra significance for the future job prospects of Gippslanders.

In my contribution, I referred to an independent report prepared for Wellington Shire Council which indicated that the broader Gippsland region had several industries which would be directly affected by the proposed scheme. The report included a forecast about the difference in employment in the municipalities of Wellington, Latrobe Valley and East Gippsland by 2025 compared to what would occur in the absence of Labor’s CPRS.

“In the case of the no-international-trade scenario, employment across the three areas will be down by almost 3000 jobs in 2025 compared with a base case of no CPRS and output would be $325 million lower,” the report states.

The report’s findings will alarm all Gippslanders – it’s found that almost 3000 jobs will be lost by 2025 across Gippsland under this massive new tax.

These are not my figures – it’s an independent report – and if the government wants to argue with them, I’ve extended an open invitation to Cabinet Ministers to come to Gippsland and explain their legislation.

One of the great failings of the government’s legislation is that it is extraordinarily complex and Kevin Rudd has failed to explain the details, and he hasn’t been honest about the costs to regional areas.

That’s one of the key reasons why I have voted against the bill three times in the House of Representatives.

Families across Gippsland are very worried about jobs – jobs we hold now and jobs for our kids in the future.

Gippslanders also want practical and direct environmental action. We all care about the future of our environment but we don’t want to be hit with a massive new tax that will cost thousands of jobs and deliver insignificant environmental benefits in the absence of a global agreement.

If the job forecast in the independent report is accurate, it flies in the face of every other effort being undertaken right now in our region to try to create jobs, to develop East Gippsland, to provide opportunities for our young people as they go through the education system and perhaps take on a trade, or go on to university.

Families in Gippsland have every reason to ask questions about the policy being put forward by the government and they have no reason whatsoever to trust the Prime Minister and a Labor Government which is hiding information like this from our community.

When referring to the GST, former Prime Minister Paul Keating is famously quoted as saying ‘don’t vote for something you don’t understand, and if you do understand it, you wouldn’t vote for it anyway’.

The simple fact remains that the Prime Minister has failed to explain this complex legislation and has attempted to con the public into believing that it amounts to significant action to improve the global environment.

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